If there was ever a running shoe company tailored with Pacific Northwest sensibilities, it may be Allbirds. Their commitment to being an earth-friendly company – from the sourcing of the materials to the recyclable packaging – and their sustainability mantra are absolutely admirable and in line with the way most of us feel. So their collab with Adidas – the Adizero X Allbirds 2.94 KG CO2e – makes all the sense in the world.
You see, these running shoes are the lowest carbon emissions performance running shoe that Adidas has ever created. I’m not fully versed in numbers, but its construction is less than 3kg CO2e per pair (2.94 kg – hence the name). That makes the seemingly impossible possible – creating a functional, almost carbon-neutral shoe. After a few runs in it, it may not be the shoe we elect to run in every day, but just the sheer attempt at potentially ushering in a new wave of running shoes. We can only hope.
The looks speak for themselves in my opinion. There are actually 4 different styles out there, but the Core Black / Acid Red is a favorite. It has enough flair in the (non-dyed) yarn to bring a little pop to the shoe. The overall look to these kicks is more of a low-profile visual similar to Chuck Taylors than a typical running shoe.
The shoes also have the details of the carbon footprint – including shoe-making, packing, transportation, and end-of-life, showcased on the tongue as well as on the outsole.
We are going to talk about the shoe as a whole and the features that make it what it is.
While the entirety of the shoe is made from 25% recycled materials, much of the upper is done this way with the lacing system and embroidery is constructed from a 100% natural construction – 23% lyocel and 77 percent recycled polyester. Speaking of colors above, this shoe uses no dye – a method that uses the material’s natural color to help reduce water consumption.
It does feel a little weird to have such an unstructured upper – much less than any running shoe I have tried – but it holds in place pretty well for shorter runs. I would say that a 5k – and maybe a tad longer in a pinch – would be the max you would want to take a stab at as a result.
The midsole is made from a sugar-cane derived EVA (17%). The inside of the shoe is not as padded as you would expect to see in a running shoe, but it was definitely comfortable and supported along the way. I was expecting a long break-in period, but it felt pretty good out of the box.
The outsole is pretty thin and streamlined – as far as running shoes go. This is by design in an effort to reduce a portion of the shoes that can often eat into that footprint. The rubber is pretty thin by design and we’d expect that wear and tear will occur with major usage. That’s not to say its a bad thing – as sustainability is at the forefront of all decisions here.
This is a really sleek looking shoe that, while it may not be a fully realized long-term running option, is a solid foray into the forefront of sustainable shoe making. We feel it operates wonderfully well as a running/casual hybrid – something that can be worn in multiple settings and look good doing so. We hope that this sort of shoe starts a further revolution into determining how running sustainability can look. Kudos to Allbirds and adidas!
- Adizero X Allbirds 2.94 KG CO2e (On Sale for $82)
- Weight: 5.4 ounces